Why do Abusers Batter

Abusive men batter women as a means of power and control, to manipulate, intimidate and rule their intimate partner.

Men who abuse their partners come from all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, areas of the world, educational levels and occupations.

They often appear charming and attentive to outsiders, and even to their partners, at first. Many batterers are very good at disguising their abusive behavior to appear socially acceptable. Once they develop a relationship with a partner however, they become more and more abusive.

Domestic violence perpetrators:

  • seek control of the thoughts, beliefs and conduct of their partner
  • punish their partner for resisting control

Men who batter:

  • minimize the seriousness of their violence
  • act impulsively
  • distrust others
  • need to control people and situations
  • express feelings as anger

A batterer covers up his violence by denying, minimizing, and blaming the victim. He often convinces his partner that the abuse is less serious than it is, or that it is her fault. He may tell her that "if only" she had acted differently, he wouldn't have abused her. Sometimes he will say, "You made me do it."

Victims of abuse do not cause violence. The batterer is responsible for every act of abuse committed.

Domestic violence is a learned behavior.

It is learned through:

  • observation
  • experience
  • culture
  • family
  • community (peer group, school, etc.)

Abuse is not caused by:

  • mental illness

    Personality disorders, mental illness, and other problems may compound domestic violence, but the abusive behavior must be addressed separately.

  • genetics
  • alcohol and drugs

    Many men blame their violence on the effects of drug and alcohol use. Alcohol abuse is present in about 50 percent of battering relationships. Research shows that alcohol and other drug abuse is commonly a symptom of an abusive personality, not the cause. Men often blame their intoxication for the abuse, or use it as an excuse to use violence. Regardless, it is an excuse, not a cause. Taking away the alcohol, does not stop the abuse.

    Substance abuse must be treated before or in conjunction with domestic violence treatment programs.

  • out-of-control behavior
  • anger
  • stress
  • behavior of the victim
  • problems in the relationship

A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a "right" to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.